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Old 06-06-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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I have a sewing pattern for cute, gusseted, reusable grocery bags and they have two layers of fabric, one is a lining (I haven't made them for a while, so I don't remember if they are reversible). Rather than use new fabric, I would prefer to use fabric from items that are not repurposable. For example, I have an old sheet that was threadbare in one area and ripped, old clothing items where the colors bled, clothing that is very outdated, etc. The problem is, especially with very old fabric, I'm afraid that they may rip out very soon...I think; I don't know.

Those of you that have some experience with fabric, what do you think? I give them as gifts and don't want to give something that will not last. Should I only use the used fabric for the lining? Or, since they are just shopping bags, old fabric (as long as it is not severely worn) would be fine?
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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A lot depends on what type of fabric and the condition of the swatch you're using. I often use denim from areas of jeans that don't get a lot of wear (usually lower leg) when the knee, thigh and seat wear out. I might have to seam some together to make the size needed for a project.

The corners of sheets normally don't get as much wear as the center, but sheeting usually isn't durable enough for a proper tote. Things that are simply stained or out-of-style, but aren't really worn out should still be pretty durable; but might not be durable enough for the bottom of a tote. So I'd reserve those for lining or maybe just not the bottom.

It's usually best to make totes (or at least the bottoms & gussets) from a heavy fabric like denim, canvas or leather since that's where it gets the most stress and wear. Since this is used fabric anyway, you could put several layers together, either by sewing (like quilting) or with fusable webbing to get something strong enough for a durable bottom. I make a lot of multi-ply items from used fabrics just to be sure they aren't too weak.

If you have a lot of lightweight fabrics like sheets and t-shirts, it might be better to make reusable produce bags or lunch bags instead.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:33 PM
 
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Here's the pattern:

TUTORIAL: Singlet Style Shopping Bag w Pattern (like the plastic shopping bag) - PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS

As you can see, there is no bottom piece. I didn't even think about using a knit from t-shirts. I was going to stick with cotton or other heavier washable material. I thing they could be made without a lining at all; it just makes them sturdier.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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Ok, I see now, this pattern is more of a light market sack than a heavy shopping tote with a reinforced square bottom. It's a cute little bag, especially since it's self-pocketing.

I think lighter weight fabrics like sheeting and twill would work well. I would definitely use a liner on lighter fabrics to give the bag some structure and resiliency, and on any used fabrics that might be have some fiber stress. Most fabrics last longer than we use them, but the fibers do get stressed with repeated washing (esp. cotton).

This pattern (or at least the pocket part) may need some modification if you were going to use a denim or canvas since those don't fold as tightly; but it should work with heavier fabrics too.
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